So you have entered your password in your iPhone several times and … it does not unlock. Did you write it right? Did you forget what you changed it to last week when your friend convinced you that “000000” is not a good password just because Kanye uses it?
Well, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that you have to reset your iPhone and set it up again as if it were new. And you need your Apple ID password (not your iPhone password) to do that.
The good news is that Apple has made this much easier from iOS 15.2 (and iPadOS 15.2). It used to require connection to a computer via USB, into recovery mode … it was a whole process. On iOS / iPadOS 15.2 and later, Apple has made it much more straightforward.
- On the lock screen, enter a password repeatedly until you get a security lock with a warning to try again later.
- You will see Delete iPhone (or iPad) at the bottom of the screen. Tap it.
- Press Delete iPhone / iPad and then press it again to confirm.
- You will be prompted to enter your Apple ID password to sign out of your Apple ID on this device. This allows you to reset the device and disables the activation lock.
- Press Delete iPhone / iPad when again you are prompted to delete all your apps and data permanently and reset the device.
After a few minutes, your iPhone or iPad will restart and you will be at the setup screen as if it were a new device you just took out of the box. For obvious security reasons, there is no way to reset your iPhone after a lost password without deletes all your apps and data. It would give bad actors a usable loop to get around the password timeouts and such. But as long as you back up your iPhone regularly (either via iCloud or with a connection to your computer), it should not be too cumbersome to start over.
I have written professionally about technology throughout my adult professional life – over 20 years. I like to find out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way that everyone can understand.